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Oscar and Lucinda
PETER CAREY

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
57 reviews (1988) (433p)
Man Booker Prize Winner

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Book Description
The Booker Prize-winning novel--now a major motion picture from Fox Searchlight Pictures.

This sweeping, irrepressibly inventive novel, is a romance, but a romance of the sort that could only take place in nineteenth-century Australia. For only on that sprawling continent--a haven for misfits of both the animal and human kingdoms--could a nervous Anglican minister who gambles on the instructions of the Divine become allied with a teenaged heiress who buys a glassworks to help liberate her sex. And only the prodigious imagination of Peter Carey could implicate Oscar and Lucinda in a narrative of love and commerce, religion and colonialism, that culminates in a half-mad expedition to transport a glass church across the Outback.


Amazon.com Review
Oscar Hopkins is a high-strung preacher's kid with hydrophobia and noisy knees. Lucinda Leplastrier is a frizzy-haired heiress who impulsively buys a glass factory with the inheritance forced on her by a well-intentioned adviser. In the early parts of this lushly written book, author Peter Carey renders the seminal turning points in his protagonists' childhoods as exquisite 19th-century set pieces. Young Oscar, denied the heavenly fruit of a Christmas pudding by his cruelly stern father, forever renounces his father's religion in favor of the Anglican Church. "Dear God," Oscar prays, "if it be Thy will that Thy people eat pudding, smite him!" Lucinda's childhood trauma involves a beautiful doll bought by her struggling mother with savings from the jam jar; in a misguided attempt to tame the doll's unruly curls, young Lucinda mutilates her treasure beyond repair. Neither of these coming-of-age stories quite explains how the grownup Oscar and Lucinda each develop a guilty passion for gambling. Oscar plays the horses while at school, and Lucinda, now an orphaned heiress, finds comfort in a game of cards with an odd collection of acquaintances. When the two finally meet, on board a ship bound for New South Wales, they are bound by their affinity for risk, their loneliness, and their awkwardly blossoming (but unexpressed) mutual affection. Their final high-stakes folly--transporting a crystal palace of a church across (literally) godforsaken terrain--strains plausibility, and events turn ghastly as Oscar plays out his bid for Lucinda's heart. Yet even the unconvincing plot turns are made up for by Carey's rich prose and the tale's unpredictable outcome. Although love proves to be the ultimate gamble for Oscar and Lucinda, the story never strays too far from the terrible possibility that even the most thunderstruck lovers can remain isolated in parallel lives.


Other Award Winning Books by Peter Carey
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
120 reviews (2010) (400p) (NBA) (Booker)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
162 reviews (2001) (384p) (Booker) (NYTimes) (TIME) (ALA)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Illywhacker by Peter Carey
14 reviews (1985) (608p) (Booker)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Peter Carey Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 6  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 4  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 1 Parrot and Olivier in America ·  
Man Booker Prize Wins 2 Oscar and Lucinda · True History of the Kelly Gang ·  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 4 Illywhacker · Oscar and Lucinda · True History of the Kelly Gang · Parrot and Olivier in America ·  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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Pulitzer Prize | National Book Critics Circle Award | National Book Award | PEN/Faulkner Award | Man Booker Prize | Contact